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Is an understanding of science important, and what are the issues involved in communicating it? Science in Public uniquely draws together the broad range of theory and practice of public understanding of science. In order to address these and other questions that face today's technological society, this book examines the history of communicating science from the eighteenth century through Michael Faraday and Thomas Huxley, and on to the present day. Detailed contemporary case studies offer insights into the communication and understanding of science. In Science in Public the ideas of sociologists and communications researchers rub shoulders with the expectations of politicians and the hopes of educators. The public is here, and so is science, in both their idealized and real-world guises. The book's scope is broad, as is the subject.
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We leave our cars to mechanics--why shouldn't we leave science to scientists? Science critic Jane Gregory and chemist Steve Miller tear down our preconceptions about popular science education and erect a scaffolding on which to build new communication systems with Science in Public: Communication, Culture, and Credibility. This deeply thoughtful book explores the lengthy history of scientific mass communication and the various rationales for encouraging greater understanding of research processes and results in the general public. From Copernicus to Carl Sagan, great thinkers have tried to explain not just the facts and theories produced by science, but the very work itself. Their reasons are enlightening and more often than not surprisingly self-serving, but Gregory and Miller are careful to maintain a tone of fairness throughout. What can we learn about the various forces of academia, government, business, and the media that have profoundly different interests in scientific communication, and how can we use this awareness to best help all the people and systems involved? Science in Public seeks to calmly observe and judge these forces, occasionally using case studies such as the mad cow madness that struck Europe in the waning days of the 20th century to illustrate points. Any reader interested in science or education will find it a challenging and provocative work. --Rob LightnerAbout the Author:
Jane Gregory is Lecturer in Science and Technology Studies at Birkbeck College, London, and an honourary Research Fellow at University College, London.Steve Miller has a Ph.D. in physical chemistry and is currently Reader in Science Communication and Planetary Science at University College, London. Jane Gregory is Lecturer in Science and Technology Studies at Birkbeck College, London, and an honourary Research Fellow at University College, London.
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